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Look for this in your ‘third opinion’

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in Leaders & Managers,Workplace Communication

If you still haven’t lined up an adviser to serve as your independent sounding board, get cracking.

An outside adviser can act as a “third opinion” when your internal people line up behind a single proposition, or help you decide when two or more of your constituencies disagree.

So how do you pick such an important person? Choose someone who:
  • Can see all sides of a complex issue.
  • Asks probing questions and listens closely to the answers, including what isn’t said. Your adviser’s questions should reveal the truth and potential of a situation, like a prism breaking out the separate colors in a beam of light.
  • Doesn’t offer advice reflexively, but waits to be asked and even then puts forward only what feels like solid advice, not a wild stab at the problem.
  • Shows integrity in tight spots.
  • Brings first-rate expertise and experience related to the kinds of challenges you face.
  • Provides a different perspective.
  • Can customize solutions, not offer platitudes or off-the-shelf answers.
  • Clicks with you intellectually as well as personally.
  • Understands your strengths and knows how to leverage them.
  • Shows curiosity and empathy.
  • Carries no conflicts of interest. Your counselor should never have anagenda that competes with yours.
— Adapted from The Third Opinion: How Successful Leaders Use Outside Insight to Create Superior Results, Saj-nicole Joni, Portfolio.

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